Are you OK?

Dear TA’s,

Are you OK? Am I OK?

It is March 1st, and it is still cold on the majority of the North Hemisphere. On the calendar, spring starts on March 20th.

Covid is still present, and now we are facing the war with Ukraine (have you ever been to Ukraine?), and prices are going up on many things.

Travel Agents/Advisors are supposed to dress with their best smiles and create the most beautiful travel dreams for their clients and prospective ones. For many, it is a tough job!

What I want to say to all of you out there, especially to those who read my blogs, is that it is OK to feel blue, sad, and even to start your day a little late when the blankets call you a little longer.

For those of you out there who feel even more sad, those of you who are really struggling with all of this, you are not alone. Please get some help, call a friend, and find a reputable therapist and/or psychiatrist. It is OK to feel sad. Even the most optimistic people, as many Travel Agents/Advisors who see the world as a beautiful and poetic place to celebrate life, are allowed to feel blue.

There are some countries that right now can’t be on anyone’s bucket list, unfortunately. Venezuela and Myanmar were on mine, and I had to delete them. Luckily, I have been to Ukraine before.

I have already been to many countries in Asia so I don’t need to wait for them to open for tourists right now. But they are definitely worth the wait!

The world is a “little” upside right now. I will let you define “little,” and I encourage all TA’s to continue promoting travel, because despite all, we all need to travel to discover our best selves.

Cheers my friends, and remember IT IS OK!

Follow me at:
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Blogs @ http://www.travelwithrosana.com

 

 

Do you need a website?

Dear TA’s,

I am asked time and time again by Travel Agents/Advisors whether or not they REALLY need a website and if they have one, how simple or sophisticated it needs to be.

Well, let’s analyze this together and compare this situation to something more tangible so you can come up with your own ideas and don’t blame me later.

Suppose your best friend is getting married and you are going to this wedding together with others – about 150 guests. Since it is your best friend, forget about finding an excuse for not going. The invitation comes by email (saving the trees or saving money, who knows?) With it comes “About the Wedding” information with bad spelling and grammar. Instead of an “open bar” they are having a cash bar. There will be no complimentary valet parking, instead there will be self-parking 3 blocks away. But most importantly, there is a BLACK-TIE DRESS CODE!

So now you begin questioning if this all makes sense!  If this is a really a black-tie affair, how should it really have been handled from the invitations on? If this event had a more casual dress code, it would probably be OK; even the bad grammar and spelling could be forgiven.

My question now turns back to you. Do you know what kind of “wedding/ business” you want to do? If you want to reach the “black tie” crowd, act accordingly. If you are a more simple kind of person who is happy with just spreading the word, why push the envelope? 

Business is like life. Use common sense, don’t be embarrassed to consult people who knows better, and be humble enough to ask for advice.

Cheering for your business, and your wedding if that is the case!

Follow me at:
Facebook @travelwithrosana
Instagram @travelwithrosana
Blogs @ http://www.travelwithrosana.com

 

My Best Decision

Dear TA’s,

I just learned sad news about someone I care a lot about.  We are not that close, but she was definitely part of my life, and even though we haven’t seen each other in a long time, it doesn’t mean I have stopped caring about her.

It is not the first time that something like this has happened to me – receiving sad news about people not close to me, but that has impacted how I want to live my life.

It made me stop what I was doing, and reflect how small everything around me is, and just how important my loved ones are. How insignificant material things are – who cares what car your neighbor drives? Who cares how much jewelry your friend from church wears? Who cares how much money your boss has in the bank? NO ONE can buy time on this earth!

The best decision I have ever made was to pay it forward. I’m trying to improve other people’s lives one at a time, by helping them with my knowledge of business, especially in the travel business. Making them grow and seeing them succeed. Honestly, I have enough. God has given me plenty, and I am so humbled by accepting it all. It is my time to give in any way possible. I mentor for the pleasure and respect it gives me, and to see others prosper. I create new relationships and God has blessed me with new friends. That is definitely the icing on the cake.

I wish we would all just stop a moment and feel the blessings we get by giving.

Cheers!

Follow me at:
Facebook @travelwithrosana
Instagram @travelwithrosana
Blogs @ http://www.travelwithrosana.com

 

Time to Fly South

Dear TA’s,
 
It is cold in the Northern Hemisphere, so it is time to fly south, where the sun is shining.
After feeling the cold for a while, even the cold weather lovers get tired and we all start counting the days until spring. Well, we could just go south or to the Caribbean.
 
As a good Brazilian, I strongly suggest going to see why so many people have fallen in love with Ipanema Beach, the Corcovado, and the ginormous Christ the Redeemer statue with his arms open to the beautiful Rio de Janeiro.
 
The Afro Brazilian history is beautifully presented with the history of Carnival, now on display during the whole year: from how everything started, how Africa influenced the Brazilian Carnival, the timeline of every year’s parade, the preparation of the most beautiful costumes, drinking some Caipirinha, dressing up in some costumes and learning how to dance Samba from professionals.  It is not just a memorable experience, but also a learning one.
 
I have been promoting Brazil as a great destination to learn about how the Afro culture and Catholicism combined harmoniously into the beautiful Brazilian culture. I have been “preaching” through travel a way to understand race with different eyes, where Afro beliefs came to enrich a country so far away from Africa. History is still on the make when people learn how to live together not judging or being judged but respecting and encouraging each other.
 
Fly south where the sun is shining and you can learn and be humbled!
 
Cheers!
 
Follow me at:
Facebook @travelwithrosana
Instagram @travelwithrosana
Blogs @ http://www.travelwithrosana.com
 

Prove me wrong.

Dear TA’s,

I don’t know how many “friends” or “followers” you have on social media, but I can tell you I have a lot. I spend a good part of my time reading their posts and I’ve noticed lately that sending hugs and prayers is the sentence I write the most (and I mean it).

There has been so much pain lately from people losing a loved one, or someone going through a different painful experience, either physical or emotional. It seems like “the world is in pain.”

But, in between these types of posts we find many celebrations, lots of new babies and birthdays and many quotes mentioning the Bible, thanking God for blessings. The world is not ending, but for many it seems as if it did somehow.

After a paragraph like that, what I want to prove is that our time in this world is short, and even shorter than we expected for our loved ones. So eat the cake (even if it is gluten free so it won’t make you sick), dance in the rain (with an umbrella to avoid a cold), and take all the trips you possibly can (using the knowledge of a TA so it will be pleasant and memorable).

Do all the things that make you happy and include all your loved ones. Create as many memories as possible. Then, when you look back, you will have many beautiful stories to share instead of regrets to cry about.

Explain to your clients that they can always find a way to make money, but to create memories, they need health, they need their loved ones, and they need you (their travel agent/advisor) to make sure everything will be as perfect as it can be. Then they need their heart to beat even faster than the click of their best camera, and all their beautiful memories will be created in their minds, hearts, and in pictures, and no one will be able to delete them.

Sending hugs and love to all of you!

Cheers!

Follow me at:
Facebook @travelwithrosana
Instagram @travelwithrosana
Blogs @ http://www.travelwithrosana.com

I say Potato/You say Tomato

Dear TA’s,

Or you can call it Limits versus Rules!

In my last blog I said that a New Year is like a new relationship where we should set limits, but I never said we should “set the rules!” Limits have to do with oneself, and rules to all parts.

The same happens in the relationship between travel agents/advisors and their clients/prospective ones. We, the TAs, can and SHOULD set the limits from the beginning, but never dictate the rules.

So, for example, setting a fee to work with clients/prospective ones, hours of operation, what we will do or won’t do for clients, all of these should be settled by the Travel Advisor from the beginning. It’s better if it is done in writing, so both parties clearly understand the relationship.

I have seen too many times Travel Advisors going out of their comfort zone, doing “more than they think they signed up for” and feeling like clients are taking advantage of them.

By the same token, clients feel like once they “hire” a Travel Advisor who is making “big bucks” they should be available to them 24/7 to answer their questions, and even “packing their bags” for them. After all, if they work in tourism, between commissions and perks, TA’s make a great living.

The best way to start a new year is with new resolutions. Review your contracts and make sure that they very clearly spell out your limits: your fees, your hours, what your service includes, and if you need to provide extra services, such as collecting money from the group for extra tours, making lists of names for those who want to have dinner on top of the mountain, etc. There is an extra fee for those services – or you don’t do it at all. But most importantly: SPELL IT OUT on your contract. That way, when your client assumes you will do all of this, you won’t feel like you are being taken advantage of, and your client will understand that all the “billions” of dollars you make on their booking is not enough to cover “packing their luggage.” LOL!

IF your clients/prospective ask why you have so many “rules” on your contract; you can explain that the only rule is that you will help them determine where and when they should go and how much they should spend. The rest are not rules, but limits, and clarify for all parties the scope of your services and expertise, to avoid future misunderstandings and disappointments.

I am sure that the good clients will appreciate this, and the non-appreciative ones will look for a good deal someplace else!

Cheers to good clients!

Follow me at:
Facebook @travelwithrosana
Instagram @travelwithrosana
Blogs @ http://www.travelwithrosana.com

Are you ready?

Dear TA’s,

Are you ready to move forward despite and in spite of Covid?

I felt like when the year 2020 began, it was going to be a great year. I am not a numerology person, or a person who believes in prophecy, I just liked the sound of 2020 and was betting on it. I have made up a little story about the past few years.

2020 was kind of like meeting a guy and thinking that he was the ONE! After a year of verbal abuse (and thanking God it was not physical!), I renewed my vows with the same guy for 2021 because he promised to be a much better guy.

2021 really tried, but the roses had the taste of vaccine, they became wilted and didn’t have much smell – but, they were roses and we made up. I really thought he was the ONE again with those “roses” and couldn’t wait to “walk down on the aisle” together in business class and have a blast.

Well, towards the end of 2021 he couldn’t keep to himself and the abuse came back. I don’t know if I got used to it or if it wasn’t as bad, but it felt like forever.

And now we are on the first month of 2022 and I have decided to set limits on this relationship.

Are you with me so far?

I have invested too much in this relationship, I can’t quit!

So here we go: In 2022 we will “walk down the aisle” as many times as we want to. And we will cruise together, we will celebrate life, and my tears will be only of happiness! I will not listen to 2022 if it tries to be abusive, it better be kind to me and to everyone else!

We are in charge of our own lives and there are no pity parties allowed! Travel agents/advisors are more important than ever. Clients who still don’t understand that an agent’s time is valuable and that they are worth the investment need to understand that they can’t pick our brains for free! Amen!

There is still time to get ready for a great 2022!

Cheers!

Follow me at:
Facebook @travelwithrosana
Instagram @travelwithrosana
Blogs @ http://www.travelwithrosana.com

 

CLIA x CDC – See you on a cruise!

Dear TA’s,

I have been thinking about cruises and reading a lot about this, and I agree with CLIA’s statement from last week below:

“The decision by the CDC to raise the travel level for cruise is particularly perplexing considering that cases identified on cruise ships consistently make up a very slim minority of the total population onboard — far fewer than on land — and the majority of those cases are asymptomatic or mild in nature, posing little to no burden on medical resources onboard or onshore.”

We have all seen that since December 30th, the CDC is screaming that cruises should be avoided: 

On December 30, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention increased the risk level for cruise ship travel to its highest level and said it should be avoided, regardless of vaccination status. The move “reflects increases in cases onboard cruise ships since identification of the Omicron variant.”

My friends have asked me if I will book my cruises and travel anyway, since travel is so important. I tell them that for me travel is like oxygen for my brain, it is therapy for my anxiety, and re-energizes me body and soul. IF I feel anxious or nervous about traveling or unsafe, I would rather stay home.

I would prefer to travel on cruise ships with fewer people, and check that the rules state 100% vaccination rate for passengers and crew. I will wear N95 and KN95 in the places I feel it is necessary. I don’t mind. I don’t believe that cloth or surgical masks offer as much in terms of effectiveness. This is what I BELIEVE based on science.  (For those who think differently, let’s agree to disagree and respect each other’s opinion. 😉)

I think that cruises are still the safest way to travel but it will depend on people’s behavior. Every time I have traveled on a cruise ship prior to COVID (about 3 times a year) I only saw a lot of people when I went for dinner or to a show. At other times I barely saw anyone. Why? We used the stairs to go up and down. We had private tours, so there was no need to leave together with the crowd. We had breakfast in the room and lunch outside or in other places, but never at the buffet. I used the gym very early in the morning or power walked outside on the last floor. I always take a nice nap before dinner.  Almost 95% (or more) of the time the weather was perfect, so I was able to avoid being inside with crowds. Now, I will wear my N95 inside the ship. The good thing is I won’t need to worry about having to reapply my lipstick!

See you on a nice cruise! Cheers!

Follow me at:
Facebook @travelwithrosana
Instagram @travelwithrosana
Blogs @ http://www.travelwithrosana.com

Just make it happen!

Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,

Happy 2022!

I would love to start my first blog of the year with only good news, but life is more about how we act with each piece of information we receive, and not about how we sit with our feelings about each fact that comes to us.

As you probably know, the airlines are canceling many flights for the first two weeks of 2022. It is not as much because of the weather, but because of “science.” The question of whether quarantines should be 5 or 10 days for pilots and crew. The unions say it is 10 days, and the airlines and industry say it is 5.  Airlines need crew and pilots to operate the airplanes, so they prefer to cancel the flights ahead of time until this issue is resolved, which gives passengers more time to rebook.

In the corporate world, many companies decided to hold their conventions and meetings virtually instead of in person. The months of January and February used to be slower for leisure travel, but airlines traditionally relied on corporate travel to start the year. The good news for leisure travel is that airlines have lowered their prices. So, use those lower prices, combined with TRAVEL INSURANCE and send your clients on a safe vacation. Corporate travel is still weaker than usual, and its future depends on when companies feel comfortable sending employees back to work and people are comfortable at large conventions.

Yes, you can! Some people may disagree with me (when we talk about guidelines and masks) but following the CDC guidelines, especially by getting the right Travel Insurance, wearing masks inside and outside (in crowded places) people can still have a great vacation by taking advantage of low airfare and awesome destinations.

I enjoy warm weather and can’t wait to go someplace where I can relax on the beach, walk on the sand and rest my eyes looking at the ocean.

To a 2022 where you can make it happen!

Follow me at:
Facebook @travelwithrosana
Instagram @travelwithrosana
Blogs @ http://www.travelwithrosana.com

Have a Merry New Year!

Dear All,

We are ending the year of 2021 with many blessings!

We can count our falls as a way to learn and grow, and for all our victories, we should think how blessed we are.

We’ve had a whole year to get together and celebrate birthdays, even without blowing out the candles on the birthday cake. A whole entire year of going back to some kind of life, where you could go out to eat, travel, get together with people, exercise, do as many things as you did pre-COVID, and feel sort of normal.

Now, for a moment, let’s stop and think what has made us more resilient, what we have learned about ourselves and how much we’ve grown this year.

Can’t we all say that since COVID, the minutiae that used to bother us are now just little annoyances? Can’t we all say that life has much more meaning, so we want to spend more time with people who make us feel good and not waste our time trying to please everyone?

Can’t we all agree that money comes and goes, but kindness is the real deal?

2022 is at our door and we need even more understanding, more kindness, and to care more for each other. Let’s try to judge less and help more. Let’s try to give more and take less. Let’s try to agree to disagree instead of show “who is ‘mas macho.’”  Let’s try to forgive more for our own sakes.

I wish you all a beautiful 2022, where you can feel blessed, happy and safely hugged!

Cheers!

Follow me at:
Facebook @travelwithrosana
Instagram @travelwithrosana
Blogs @ http://www.travelwithrosana.com